Course concept

The master’s in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics is directed at students with a bachelor’s degree in biology who are interested in the organismic aspects of the subject.

During the course, organisms are studied in their functional entirety using modern and innovative methods of investigation. Particular emphasis is placed on interaction with biotic and abiotic environments right up to complex ecosystem level. The programme is rooted in the classic subjects systematic zoology, systematic botany and ecology, with evolutionary biology serving as a connecting thread. Both the teaching and the research of the three institutes involved are coloured by their focus not only on the evolutionary emergence of biological diversity but also on its functional significance for ecosystems. The physiological, anatomical, morphological and behavioural traits of species are viewed as adaptations to living conditions which have been shaped by selective forces.

The methodological spectrum of the course is broad and ranges from field work and field experiments to laboratory experiments, statistic data evaluation and computer simulation. Experimentation is central to the course on every level, and because students are expected to work independently early on, the principles of experiment design are learned through first- hand experience. Successful graduates are well placed to enter or continue in academia, usually embarking on a PhD.